We’ve seen another announcement-packed Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona this week, with new phones launched by Samsung, Sony, LG, Nokia, Asus, and others. So what can this glut of new devices tell us about where smartphones are heading in 2018, and what we’ll see for the rest of the year?
Despite all the phones unveiled in Spain, there are plenty more to come: We’ll very likely see new flagships from Google, Apple, LG, OnePlus, Huawei, and HTC over the next 10 months, and Samsung will be back with a successor to the Galaxy Note 8. The year is just getting started.
AI is everywhere
It’s no surprise that one of the biggest trends of 2017 rolls right into 2018 – phone makers now want to pack as much artificial intelligence into their handsets as possible, even if they have to stretch the definition of the term “AI” to do it.
AI can seem like quite an abstract concept, but the end result is phones that are better able to think for themselves and learn over time, without offloading the intense calculations that are required off to the cloud – being able to recognize what you’re taking a photo of, and adjusting the camera settings accordingly, is a good example of an AI-enabled feature.
Digital assistants are another example, now better than ever at recognizing your voice and interpreting your commands without having to check back with base first. More of that computing can be done on-board the phones of 2018.
e’ve also seen some impressive augmented reality demos at MWC – another 2017 trend spilling over into 2018 – and you can expect AR to be key in the new handsets we’re going to be seeing from Google and Apple later in the year. Animated, life-like emojis seem to be the order of the day, but AR has plenty of potential beyond cartoon characters.
Meanwhile, older technologies refuse to die off, despite Apple’s best efforts. Samsung’s new flagship phones include both fingerprint sensors and 3.5-mm headphone jacks, so we won’t all be switching to face unlock just yet – the first handset with a fingerprint sensor under its display has already appeared, and if the tech becomes more widely adopted, it could once again become the default way of getting into your phone.
Mobile World Congress always sets down a marker for what we can expect from the phones of the rest of the year, and 2018 has been no different – we’re looking forward to what appears next.